Respectful Insolence

Archives for August, 2013

I was depressed yesterday. I’ve been on vacation this week (staycation, actually, as I stayed at home and didn’t go on any trips); so you would think it would take a lot to depress me. It did. Scott Gavura over at Science-Based Medicine wrote about how another once-proud academic medical center, the University of Toronto,…

A cancer quackfest

Oh, goody. I think I see future blog fodder for the second half of September. (When you’ve been in the blogging biz as along as I have, you think that far in advance when the opportunity presents itself.) Well, maybe it’s blog fodder. The problem is that I would actually have to wade through the…

If there’s one thing antivaccinationists hate having pointed out to them, it’s that they are antivaccine. If you really want to drive an antivaccinationist up the wall, point out that they are antivaccine. Sure, there are a few antivaccinationists who openly self-identify as antivaccine and are even proud of it, but most of them realize…

About ten or twelve years ago, back when I was in essence, a newly minted skeptic and public supporter of science-based medicine, I was so naive. There I was, having just discovered the Usenet newsgroup misc.health.alternative and confronting the original wretched hive of scum, quackery, and pseudoscience, and I thought I had seen everything. Yes,…

I’ve written a lot about Stanislaw Burzynski and what I consider to be his unethical use and abuse of institutional review boards and clinical trials. Before that, I used to regularly write about Mark and David Geier and their unethical use and abuse of IRBs and clinical trials. In both cases, I lamented how they…

About a week and a half ago, I wrote about a local oncologist who was arrested by the FBI for massive Medicare fraud in which physician involved diagnosed cancers that weren’t there, gave chemotherapy to patients who either didn’t have cancer or were in remission and thus didn’t need it, and had developed a self-referral…

Chiropractic is supposed to be the “respectable” face of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM). At least, that’s what chiropractors want you to think. After all, chiropractors are licensed in all 50 states and thus their specialty has the imprimatur of the state to make it appear legitimate. Unfortunately, chiropractors are, as I have said so…

To say that I haven’t been much of a fan of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) throughout the years is a gross understatement. If you want to see the depths of my—shall we say?—lack of enthusiasm for NCCAM, feel free to type “NCCAM” in the search box of this blog and…

Recently, I got an e-mail from someone who had just discovered my blog that made me think a bit, which is usually a good thing. At least, in this case it was. Basically, this reader asked me a question I hadn’t been asked in a very long time and hadn’t thought about in a very…

I’ve made no secret of my opinion of Jenny McCarthy. To put it mildly, I don’t think that much of her, particularly her flaming stupid when it comes to her promotion of dangerous antivaccine nonsense. To her, vaccines are chock full of “toxins” and all sorts of evil humors that will turn your child autistic…

Yet another zombie antivaccine meme rises from the grave to join its fellows Oh, no, not again! It was just two days ago that I decided to take on a zombie antivaccine meme that just keeps rising from the dead over and over and over again. I’m referring to the claim that Andrew Wakefield has…

No, homeopathy didn’t cure you

As you’ve probably figured out, I like testimonials. Well, maybe “like’ is the wrong world. I’m interested in them, something that goes way, way back into the deepest, darkest mists of blog time, as my earliest “epic” post was about alternative cancer cure testimonials. With that post as a start, I’ve come back to the…

No mas! No mas! I surrender. Even though what I’m about to blog about is over a week old (ancient history in blog time), the combined force of you, my readers, sending this link to me and my seeing it on Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere compels me. Oh, I resisted. I read it and thought…

I’ve spent a lot of time on this blog discussing failures of the medical system. Usually, such discussions occur in the context of how unscientific practices and even outright quackery have managed to infiltrate what should be science=based medicine (SBM) in the form of so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or “integrative medicine,” in which…

Eric Merola alternates between offending me and making me laugh at his antics. Since it’s been a couple weeks since I’ve written anything about the Houston doctor who claims to be able to do so much better against many forms of cancer than conventional medicine, I have to express a bit of gratitude to Mr.…

Whenever I take a day off from blogging, as I did yesterday because I was too busy going out with my wife on Wednesday night to celebrate my birthday, I not infrequently find an embarrassment of riches to blog about the next day. Sometimes it’s downright difficult to decide what to write about. So it…

As supporters of science-based medicine know, in the woo-sphere, there is only One True Cause of Autism, and that is vaccines. At least, so it would seem. The idea that vaccines cause autism is based largely on anecdotes tinged with confirmation bias and selective memory mixed with a massive confusing of correlation with causation whereby…

The “fundamentals” of voltage quackery

In medical school, or so we’re told, aspiring young doctors are taught the fundamentals of medicine. What we science-based physicians usually mean by “fundamentals” includes the basic science necessary to understand human health and disease, the mechanism by which human disease develops, and the basics of how to treat it. We also learn a way…

Antivaccine legislators are at it again

Here we go again. The “Holy Grail” (well, a “holy grail”) of the antivaccine movement is to have a “vaccinated versus unvaccinated” study performed, or, as it’s frequently abbreviated a “vaxed verus unvaxed” study. They believe that such a study will confirm their fixed belief that vaccines are the root of nearly all health issues…

“Alternative medicine,” so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), or, as it’s become fashionable to call it, “integrative medicine” is a set of medical practices that are far more based on belief than science. As my good bud and collaborator Mark Crislip so pointedly reminded us last week, CAM is far more akin to religion than…

The cult of the antivaccine

After a brief foray yesterday into discussing atheism, tone deafness, and the Holocaust (how’s that for an odd combination?), I’m ready to get back to more—shall we say?—conventional topics. One topic that’s been popping up at that other wretched hive of scum and antivaccine quackery (one of the ones other than Age of Autism) reveals…